Archive | March 2011

Journal of Business Logistics 2.0

There is probably no “A+ journal” in the field of logistics. However, a series of changes can be announced for the CSCMP‘s Journal of Business Logistics (JBL) that might move it a bit closer to this top grade. Firstly, the JBL is now listed in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science. This is an important move, because many U.S. universities require journals to be listed there, in order to count them on the tenure track. Secondly, the journal is now published by Wiley-Blackwell. It can be expected that the publisher’s advanced submission system will accelerate the publication process. Thirdly, the Editorial Review Board has grown to incorporate additional authors. This allows the variety of specialty areas to grow. The JBL is now edited by Matthew Waller and Stanley Fawcett. They succeed James R. Stock, who successfully edited the journal between 2004 and 2010.

How to Organize SCM Research Resources

Some months ago, the reference management software Zotero got into my hands. On the Zotero website it is described as a “free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources”. It gives yet another reason to use Firefox: Having Zotero installed, a small symbol appears in your location bar, if you’re using Firefox to browse the websites of ScienceDirect, Ebsco, Amazon, and all the other supported resources. By clicking the symbol, you can collect information on books, journal articles, and other resources in your database. You can synchronize your database with the Zotero server and create group libraries to use Zotero collaboratively. Thousands of journal-specific styles are available to turn the data into a bibliography in your own paper. Word processor plugins are available for Microsoft Word in order to automatically update your bibliography. Unlike commercial software packages like EndNote, Zotero is an open source project (GNU General Public License).

The “Rucksack” of a Supply Chain for Butter vs. Margarine

Even if it’s not always visible for us, products have much to carry. The following example is simple, nonetheless impressive: According to the book Pendos CO2-Zähler (in German), the production of 1 kg margarine causes only 1.35 kg in CO2 equivalents, whereas the same amount of butter causes 23.80 kg in CO2 equivalents. Seemingly substitutable products carry completely different amounts of CO2! However, margarine can be much worse than butter, if it is made from rainforest-killing palm oil rather than from sun flowers. Hence, it’s not the product itself, but its supply chain that has a negative impact on our environment. Interesting CO2 rucksacks have been revealed by the PCF Project. The final consumer is unable to buy sustainably, if he/she doesn’t know the underlying supply chain. An interesting solution has been implemented by the Swiss clothing manufacturer Switcher. Each garment bears its individual Respect Code which can be used by the customer to find online information about the social and ecological rucksack of that product.

Measuring Performance

Performance measurement is difficult! Generations of empirical researchers have presented measures of organizational performance. In their article Measuring Organizational Performance: Towards Methodological Best Practice, Richard et al. (2009) have reviewed past studies. They reveal the multidimensional nature of this important construct. According to the authors, organizational performance encompasses three specific areas of firm outcomes: (a) financial performance (profits, return on assets, return on investment, etc.); (b) product market performance (sales, market share, etc.); and (c) shareholder return (total shareholder return, economic value added, etc.). Limited effectiveness of commonly accepted measures in tapping this multidimensionality is highlighted. The appendix of the article, which is published in the Journal of Management, includes many examples of research that includes organizational performance as a dependent, independent, or control variable. To my knowledge, no comparable review is available for supply chain performance. It would be interesting to know, how this construct can be measured properly.

Can We Learn from the Tōhoku Earthquake?

Which strategies should be pursued to manage supply risks? Answers can be found when analyzing the Tōhoku earthquake.

  • An obvious strategy is the use of multiple suppliers. But what happens, if all of them are located in Japan? It can be learnt that redundant suppliers should be geographically distributed.
  • But if really no supplier is available any more? Companies must always be prepared to search for new suppliers. They must know alternatives and be able to rapidly link them to the supply chain.
  • Production halts, if an important part is missing. However, in some cases production can go on and the missing part can be added afterwards. Products must be designed for this strategy.
  • Companies must be able to slow down production to a certain level in order to avoid running out of stock. This strategy can be used to bridge the gap until components are available again.
  • After the earthquake, some companies rushed to announce that they don’t have critical 1st-tier suppliers from Japan. But are they safe, if they don’t know their 2nd-tier suppliers? Visibility is a key!
eral Motors Co. on Thursday became the first U.S. auto maker to close a factory because of the crisis in Japan.

Ranking SCM Journals: ABS Academic Journal Quality Guide Version 4

The Academic Journal Quality Guide by the British Association of Business Schools (ABS) is a hybrid journal ranking based partly on peer review, partly on statistical information, and partly upon editorial judgments. In a previous version of this post, I presented a ranking of supply chain management journals based on that list. However, as the initial post and the ABS ranking are already several years old and I do not want to mislead researchers, I decided to remove the old list from this blog. Moreover, the list has often been subject to criticism. Keep in mind that journal rankings have a downside and should not be the dominating criteria for judging the value of our research. Meanwhile, ABS has published a successor to the old ranking: the ABS Academic Journal Guide 2015 (see there).

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